Preparing for a big event is a lot like skydiving

Monday, 2 February 2015

Training for Rome Marathon (for real this time)

Week 4 of 10: Day 19

47 days to go

Anticipating and preparing for an event if a lot like skydiving. First you get the butterflies in your stomach, the deer-in-the-headlights stare and, quite probably, the shakes. ‘What have I signed up for?’ tumbles through your head, over and over.

Then there’s the fearful excitement. You’re squashed in a tiny Cesna, looking ridiculous and feeling hot, sweaty and itchy in a helmet and oversized overalls. Your chest aches and your heart beats so hard it makes the ugly orange fabric of the overalls twitch. The drone of the Cesna engine isn’t loud enough to drown out the sound of your heavy breathing. You’re acutely aware of everything around you – the world below getting smaller and smaller, the terror and excitement of the other first-time skydivers pressed up against you, the cramps in your legs and the ache in your knees from the awkward position you have to hold until you can jump out of the plane.

Then, there you are, in place you never thought you would be: sitting in the open doorway of the little aircraft, 10 000 feet above the ground … and your legs are dangling out! Seconds later, before you’ve had time to voice your protest, you’re hurtling through the air. Your heart has stopped, your breathing has stopped. You’re tumbling, head over feet over head over feet … the air rushes loudly past your ears. Then you stabilise: you’re flying! The world and all your troubles are so small and so far away. There’s just you, flying free as a bird, high, high, in the sky, your face aching from grinning so hard, and your mind filled with the wonder of it all. The most intelligent, creative thing you can say is ‘Wow!’

This is amazing! Why have you never done this before? Why were you so fearful? Nothing is better than this. You feel you are going to be up there forever, zooming about above the earth.

Slowly, slowly the tiny toyland below starts to grow larger. You can make out the people below, waving and whooping in excitement at this great thing you’ve just done. You’re cruising in, back to life-size, back to reality.

And then, at about 200 feet, you are no longer floating down towards the ground. The ground is rushing up towards you. Everything is in fast forward and, SPLAT, you’re on the ground. All that anticipation, excitement, preparation, and cruising towards the final destination, earth, is over. And you stand there, wishing you had paid more attention, been a bit more conscious of every moment and held onto it a little more tightly. It’s all slipped through your fingers and you’re back on the ground, hearing yourself whooping, sensing, somehow that you’re jumping up and down, accepting hugs and congratulations, but it’s all over. It’s been a hell of a ride, but the ride is over.

And so here I am at the beginning of week 4 of 10. Six weeks to go before Maratona di Roma. Less than 50 days left to prepare. And I feel as if the ground is rushing up towards me. I am running out of time. I am so unprepared, so not ready for this part of the ride to be over. I still face every run with uncertainty and have to try to quiet my chattering monkey mind that still – relentlessly – tries to convince me that a 5 km run is beyond my abilities.

Time seems to be slipping from my grasp ... so much preparation left to do, so few days in which to do it!

Time seems to be slipping from my grasp … so much preparation left to do, so few days in which to do it!

It’s time to step things up a little this week. I’ve focused on using the time I have available for training just getting time on my legs. But now I need to invite my abs to the party. And it’s no party if the biceps and glutes aren’t there. Cross-training needs to get into the schedule.

As of today I’ll be cluttering the house with bits of equipment. The old hula hoop and yoga mat will be hauled into the lounge so that I can do hip circles while watching TV and crunches between checking on the pasta sauce. The box of dumbells will become a health and safety hazard in the bathroom so that I can do some bicep curls before stepping into the shower.

Of course, I’ll need more cross-training that that, so the various items on my chores list are going to have to be either reallocated, delayed, neglected or deleted. But so what if the lawn is waist-high and the dust bunnies are real live rabbits by the time we board that plane in March? Who is going to remember that I always had a well-manicured lawn? Who, except the people who mean buggerall, are going to care?

So, despite being kind of shattered after Saturday’s run (I have no idea why I was so tired!), I took myself off to a two-hour introduction to aerial silks, lyra and hammock and acrobalance at the Silk Workshop. I had done some aerial silks with The Kid last year and loved it. As usual, the banal tasks that fill the hours, days, weeks and months of working moms swelled to fill the space set aside for silks, and I just couldn’t muster the energy to to to fit the twice-weekly trips to Observatory into the lists of things-that-must-be-done.

Mom and daughter team at The Silk Workshop demonstrating a 'simple' acrobalance pose.

Mom and daughter team at The Silk Workshop demonstrating a ‘simple’ acrobalance pose.

Novices giving this acrobalance business a go.

Novices giving this acrobalance business a go.

Aerial lyra - lyrical when The Silk Workshop women do it, and somewhat more ungainly when the rest of us try it!

Aerial lyra – lyrical when The Silk Workshop women do it, and somewhat more ungainly when the rest of us try it!

Aerial silks - a good way to work abs, arms, chest, back and anywhere else you didn't realise you had muscles!

Aerial silks – a good way to work abs, arms, chest, back and anywhere else you didn’t realise you had muscles!

It feels so good to challenge yourself, do things you never thought you could, and aerial silks is provides opportunity for exactly that.

It feels so good to challenge yourself, do things you never thought you could, and aerial silks is provides opportunity for exactly that.

I came back on Saturday afternoon feeling energised and happy, and this morning my arms, chest and back have that delicious exertion-induced ache … those little tweaks that remind you that you’re alive and healthy, and have a body that can do stuff!

Now where and how to wedge running, swimming, spin classes, weights sessions, walking and aerial silks classes amongst the fetching, dropping off, shopping, cooking, dogwalking, gardening and working? And, if I can do that, is there a way to shoehorn in some reading, writing, mosaic, crochet, sewing, lessons in InDesign, fashion and jewellery design, and AfrikaBurn preparation? Time to hang out and socialise with friends will have to be once I’m on the other side, I think. Here’s hoping we’re all headed to the same side!

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